Myanmar authorities charge six journalists

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Authorities in Myanmar have charged Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw and 5 different members of the media with violating a public order regulation that would see them imprisoned for as much as three years, a lawyer stated Tuesday.

The six have been arrested whereas protecting protests towards the Feb. 1 army coup in Myanmar that ousted the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi. The group consists of journalists for Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet on-line information and a freelancer.

Lawyer Tin Zar Oo, who represents Thein Zaw, stated the six have been charged below a regulation that punishes anybody who causes concern among the many public, knowingly spreads false information, or agitates instantly or not directly for a legal offense towards a authorities worker.

The regulation was amended by the junta final month to broaden its scope and enhance the utmost jail time period from two years.

AP’s Thein Zaw, 32, was taken into custody on Saturday morning in Yangon, the nation’s largest metropolis. He is reported to be held in Insein Prison in northern Yangon, infamous for housing political prisoners below earlier army regimes.

According to the lawyer, Thein Zaw was remanded into custody by a courtroom and might be held till March 12 with out one other listening to or additional motion.

The AP has known as for his rapid launch.

“Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution,” Ian Phillips, AP vice chairman for worldwide information, stated after the arrest. “AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw.”

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined that decision.

“Myanmar authorities must release all journalists being held behind bars and stop threatening and harassing reporters for merely doing their jobs of covering anti-coup street protests,” stated Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia consultant. “Myanmar must not return to the past dark ages where military rulers jailed journalists to stifle and censor news reporting.”

Thein Zaw was arrested as police charged towards protesters gathered at an intersection in Yangon that has turn out to be a gathering level for demonstrators.

Authorities escalated their crackdown on the protesters this previous weekend, finishing up mass arrests and utilizing deadly power. The U.N. Human Rights workplaces stated it believes at the very least 18 folks have been shot useless Sunday in a number of cities when safety forces opened fireplace on demonstrating crowds.

The coup reversed years of sluggish progress towards democracy after 5 many years of army rule.

In December 2017, two journalists working for the Reuters information company have been arrested whereas engaged on a narrative about Myanmar’s Rohingya minority. They have been accused of illegally possessing official paperwork, though they argued that they have been framed due to official opposition to their reporting.

Although their case attracted worldwide consideration, they have been convicted the next yr and have been sentenced to seven years behind bars. They have been freed in 2019 in a mass presidential pardon.

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